Spain accepts bailout, Europe’s troubles grow, but Canada won’t help

·Politics Reporter

On Saturday, Spain became the fourth of the 17 countries that use Europe's common currency to request a bailout. The eurozone will lend Spain $125 billion US to bolster its weakest banks, marred with bad loans following the collapse of a property boom and the recession that followed.

Experts predict that Italy could be next to require assistance.

But don't expect Canada to help out — at least not financially.

Even though other countries — outside Europe — have pledged billions, the Stephen Harper government insists it will not put any new money into the International Monetary Fund effort to raise $430 billion US that could be used as a 'financial firewall' to rescue European Union members.

On Friday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters that European countries didn't cut any cheques for the United States during its 2008 banking crisis, so it shouldn't "pass the plate" now for outside help.

"I lived through the American banking crisis. The European countries...did not support the United States financially when it had its crisis in 2008," Flaherty said, according to the Globe and Mail.

"What we've been encouraging the euro zone countries to do is to deal with this issue of a firewall and recapitalizing their banks themselves. These are not poor countries. ... So I would respectfully suggest that they first step up to the plate themselves before they pass the plate to others."

By refusing to contribute, however, Canada has drawn the ire of the Germans.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail last week, Germany's ambassador to Canada, Georg Witschel, said Canada should realize that the entire global economy will be at risk if the European economy falters.

"We find it indeed somewhat irritating and somewhat disappointing that Canada is so adamantly refusing to help," he said.

"A major problem in the eurozone would have major negative economic repercussions on Canada, so solidarity is needed. … We still hope that Canada would be ready to contribute more, like so many other partners."

Harper will likely face more pressure on this issue at next week's G20 summit in Mexico.

Almost all G20 members — with the exception of Canada and the United States — have said they will announce specific pledges to the EU fund at those meetings.

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